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10

Jun
2015

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In Case Studies
Uncategorized

By andrea

Neami National: How to get staff on board for sustainability

On 10, Jun 2015 | No Comments | In Case Studies, Uncategorized | By andrea

We visited the Neami National head office in Melbourne to find out why they are so successful in getting their staff involved in workplace sustainability, and how they’ve managed to upgrade the bulk of their rented facilities. What we found was a powerful model of engagement that is based on their approach to mental health and wellbeing…

Neami National is a community mental health service working to improve the lives of people living with mental illness, so that they can live independently and pursue a life based on their own strengths, values and goals. Neami National operates from over 50 locations, and delivers support, outreach, residential youth rehabilitation, sub-acute services, assessment and referral to over 4000 people in urban and regional areas of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, West Australia and South Australia.

We spoke with Amy Piesse and Cathy Gibson, Neami National’s Sustainability Officers, about what’s worked in their organisation.


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Q. Where did Neami National’s approach to sustainability come from?

It’s based on our approach in providing mental health services. At Neami we use the Collaborative Recovery Model to help people to recover from mental illness, where we focus on their strengths and values to direct their own lives, and freely choose their own path for recovery. We support them by providing the means and opportunities to enable them to make their own choices towards recovery.

As part of our approach, we offer our service users the opportunity to include health and sustainability activities into their recovery goals. We run a health promotion program, as well as a sustainable living program to help people control their bills, reduce their waste, and learn how to grow food. We work collaboratively with consumers to develop the sustainable living opportunities that we offer, and this ensures that our sustainability activities are relevant to the needs of our service users.

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Cathy: “We take the same approach with Neami staff so that local teams can figure out the kind of sustainability activities that are most relevant to their site and team. We’ve developed ’10 Green Standards’, which each site works towards achieving. They include commitments to recycle, reduce car use and save energy through switching off and setting appropriate heating and cooling levels for the season. We send staff surveys every year to find out what practices are being implemented, and then we roll out campaigns and rewards to help improve focus areas.

“For example, in 2014 the survey showed that sustainability wasn’t a big decider in procurement processes, so we developed a NN Sustainable Purchasing List and Sustainable Events Guide to help staff improve their practices in this area.

“We also put some money into a Staff Recognition Program, so that when a team works together to achieve a sustainability goal, they will receive a $200 towards a team reward. Neami staff have come up with some great ways to spend their rewards, including buying keep cups for team members, buying plants for their office, or funding a cooking event for a local charity.
 
:”We have made sustainability an interesting, fun and rewarding part of our staff culture here at Neami, and this in turn attracts more staff who are passionate about working in an environmentally conscious organization.
One of our sites came up with a ‘Keep Cup Competitions’, where they took Keep Cups to the local café and tracked how many take away coffee cups they could avoid bringing back to work. When they reached their target we gave them a $200 prize for them to spend on a healthy and sustainable reward. We’ve also made some changes to our waste systems to embed sustainability into everything we do. All our sites recycle, nearly half have on-site composting, and one has chickens! We removed the landfill bins from under desks at all our offices, and replaced them with desk top eco-boxes so that staff are more conscious of the waste they are generating. We also promote national sustainability events, such as National Ride to Work Day, and our staff love it so have a great turn out.

Through this approach we have made sustainability an interesting, fun and rewarding part of our staff culture here at Neami, and this in turn attracts more staff who are passionate about working in an environmentally conscious organization.

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If you’d like more details about Neami National’s approach, or to see their ’10 Green Standards’, Sustainable Purchasing List or Sustainable Events Guide, contact Amy Piesse and Cathy Gibson at sustainability@neaminational.org.au

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